Who Are You Fighting For?

Who is fighting for you?  No really?  I just sent all 6 of my kids back to school and they have no doubt about one thing… I want to make them better!  I am on their team!  It just so happens Thursday is the day many have been waiting for – the kickoff of the NFL season.  The preparation, the anticipation and the signal of a NEW SEASON. I can guarantee you one thing, the overarching quality that makes for an incredible team that will be in the next Superbowl is…CHEMISTRY.  Incredible teams don’t have perfect people, but everyone understands their role and what the goal is… make each other better in order to WIN!  #makeembetter

It’s not personal ego or accomplishment that matters, but in the end it’s what is on the SCOREBOARD.   


My Dream Team

“Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

If you are on a team your responsibility is to #makeembetter.  Teams rally together and in the case of a church, a family, or a business, our job is to make each other better.  Our 217church scoreboard is lives rebuilt, small groups living sent on mission, and disciples made.  All of these things happen through teams.  From the beginning, everything we have done has been around the idea of teams.  It exciting to be a part of an INCREDIBLE team.  

5 Things That Make Our 217church Team Better

#1 Unselfishness –  When one person gets all the credit, the team is dysfunctional.  Unselfishness seeks to advance others for the betterment of the team and the advancement of the cause.  When one person makes decisions based on what is best for them rather than the team, it all falls apart.  Unselfish people are constantly early for the meeting.

QUESTION:  Do you look out more for yourself or others?

#2 Reliability   Not just when things are good but even more so when things aren’t looking good.  If you disappear when things get rough, your hurting the team, you make yourself a loser!  It’s easy to be a part of a team when things are great, but your true commitment is tested when you don’t see a solution. Reliable people are present through ALL circumstances and they KEEP their word.

QUESTION:  Do you support or subvert the vision when things get tough?

#3 Clarity – The greatest teams I have been apart of are clear and concise about what the common goal is.  This happens when people understand how what they do fits with the vision.  Where there is clarity there has already been great conviction.  WE MUST do this, WE WILL do this, NO MATTER WHAT, THIS IS HAPPENING!  The vision must be razor sharp, easy for people to see and experience.

QUESTION:  Is your team clear about what your team is about?

#4 Urgency –  Look, there’s limited time to complete the vision.  Working diligently to accomplish something with a noble purpose should not be intentionally delayed.  For our church, the urgency is critical.  If we don’t work quickly, people go hungry, kids don’t find Jesus, parents lose direction, people lose hope, the enemy temporarily wins.  Now is the time!

QUESTION:  Are you complacent or compelled when it comes to your team’s vision?

#5 Honor – This may be the most important of all the qualities.  When honor is present there is a deep respect of the people you are working with and for.  People matter to God and their gifts are to be encouraged.  Believe the best, no gossiping, no side conversations, no critical attitudes.  Don’t like it?  GET OFF THE TEAM!  Disagree, but with dignity and respect.  Encouragement, respectful communication, and love for one another are a must.

QUESTION:  Are you a complainer or a champion of unity?

I want you on the 217church team!

This Sunday Wear your favorite team jersey and get ready to be a part of an incredible TEAM!  Go 217church!  Who are you pouring your life into?  Tell me how below – #makeembetter

Josh

P.S My favorite team Jersey looks like this…

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September 10 – Vision Sunday!  Wear your Favorite Team Jersey

September 17 – “His Story” Series Week #1 through the Gospels (Small Groups Launch)

October 8  New Service times  -9:30am & 11:00am

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday September 17th 2017 we will have our Fall Launch celebration service.

217church is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and we are helping in the Hurricane devastated area. Here is a link on how you can VOLUNTEER or GIVE FINANCIALLY to support Hurricane victims.

Why 2 Worship Services Makes Sense…

We are seeing Double!  We have been on quite a ride together as a church.  Over the past seven plus years we have seen so many lives rebuilt and so much impact in the Mercer County area through 217church.  We have declared 2017 as the year of double blessing and we are ready to see our influence in the community increase even more.  We have been running just one worship service for about a year now and we are ready to see that double.  We believe we are ready to go to TWO worship services in the fall of 2017.

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“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portiontherefore in their land they shall possess a double portion.  Isaiah 61:7

There are four core things we want to see double over these next months.  First, the number of worship services, next the number of baptisms, next the number of vision owners, and finally the number of small groups that are rebuilding lives one person at a time.  Here are three reasons we believe God is calling us to move towards TWO Sunday worship services.

Three Leading Reasons For TWO Sunday Worship Services

1 – A Vision Driven Church – We have and always will be a vision driven church that holds the vision and mission of our church at the core of everything we do.  We feel our call is to reach as many people as fast as we possibly can as we rebuild lives one person at a time.  Our impact needs to increase as we move forward.  We believe our church family is one of the best kept secrets in Mercer County, NJ, and we want to expand our territory and grow!  We are believing God for a great harvest.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his.”  Luke 10:2

Action Step – Invite your circle of influence to a Sunday service

2 – Serving Opportunities Increase – When does someone feel like part of the family of 217church?  This happens when people realize they are needed, belong, and serve the vision of their church.  One of the easiest entry pathways into serving is at a Sunday service.  Media, worship, 217kids, parking lot attendants, prayer, and hospitality teams, are just some of the ways you realize how much you are needed and play a vital role in the mission God has for you and His church.  When we double the worship services, we double the opportunity for people to serve and realize their value to each other.  Also, our incredible 217kids team will have the opportunity to be in worship on the same Sunday they serve.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”  Ephesians 4:11-12

Action Step – Invest your energy and join a ministry team

3 – Practical Options Matter –  If we are to grow we can’t just be limited to one service time on a weekend.  Let’s be real…Some people must leave a service early because of essential commitments, and I know we have all faced the battle of getting to church on time, especially those of us with small children.  We are currently considering 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM as our leading options for new start times, and if all goes well we are targeting a Sunday in October as our two service launch date.  Also as a practical matter, the cost of us doing another worship service is virtually nothing.  A second worship service increases the stewardship of our rental dollars, as our impact will almost certainly increase.  As we double over time we believe more vision owners will believe and commit to our below Vision Ownership Covenant:

  • Spread the Vision of the church – By being baptized and get sent
  • Share the Responsibility of the church – By immersing yourself in small group community
  • Serve the Ministry of the church – By using your gifts and being a regular part of a ministry team
  • Support the purpose of the church – By giving regularly to the mission of the church

I would love to hear your feedback, concerns, ideas and opinions about this new direction.  I believe it’s time for us to consider this next step of growth as we prepare to go from a portable church to a permanent location.

I can’t wait to see how God doubles our impact, and don’t miss June 11, 2017 as we reveal fresh direction on vision Sunday!  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Josh

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

Choose Your Values – Live on Purpose

What is most important to you in your life?  Essentially, what is at the CORE of who you are and what you represent?  What I mean is, what #values are so important to you that you find yourself practicing them intuitively, without being told.  There are a set of values operating in my life under the surface, and then there are those that I would call my ‘ideal values.’  These have been shaped as seeds and developed at the core of who I am and have led to powerful practices.  It takes time, but if you will intentionally adopt values that are routinely practiced, they have the power to give your life tremendous meaning and impact.

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“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Proverbs 20:5

Isn’t it time for you to draw out those deep values you know you want at the core of your life? What are some values in my life that are developing out of seeds intentionally planted?  These 6 below happen to also be our 217church adopted values.  They are a powerful seeds that are bearing fruit in my home and in our church and community.

6 Values That Have Changed My Life…

-Intentional Multiplication – Who I am will be multiplied in my children and those around me.  My heart is to intentionally make disciples.

2 Timothy 2:2 “…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

-Relentless Serving – Starting in my home, I need to model what it looks like to serve.  This extends to every behavior in my life including taking care of orphans and those who are struggling.

Mark 10:43-44 “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”

-Authentic Relationships – I can’t be close with everyone, but I want to model love and care for those around me. My faith will be caught more than it will be taught.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

-The Next Generation – If I don’t pass the lessons I am learning on to the next generation, I am wasting my influence.  If I haven’t passed it on I haven’t passed the test.  I need to invest my time and money in the next generation.

Psalm 78:6-7 “that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”

Dynamic Teaching – I need to be a learner that is teaching what is powerful and life transformational.  If it has transformed me it should transform others.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Passionate Worship – My life is to be spent in every aspect as a worship to God.  If it doesn’t worship God I shouldn’t do it.

John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

 What values are you living by?  What are the core practices that are driving your purpose?  What are some values you want to intentionally plan to live?

Josh

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

Celebrating BIG WINS! 7 Years of 217church

I can’t believe it!  This Sunday we will celebrate seven years of worshiping together as a church family in Mercer County, NJ. This Sunday I am speaking about what is called a DOUBLE BLESSING!  God is in the business of replacing our burdens with blessing!  It’s right in front of us, waiting for us to reach out in faith and realize it as a church.  So many people sacrificed so much so we could pursue the vision to Rebuild Lives one Person at a time.  Realize our church never would have happened without those who have believed FROM THE BEGINNING!  Our mother church – Princeton Alliance Church believed in the vision first!  You are an incredible congregation doing impactful ministry here and around the world!  Thank You!

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“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portiontherefore in their land they shall possess a double portion.  Isaiah 61:7

Many of you who read this are a part of another local church family in another community.  We have always viewed our local church as a kingdom building church.  This means that even if you won’t be with us for our 7 year celebration, take these seven action steps and appropriately implement them in your life and in your local context.

7 Ways To Celebrate Our 7 Years Together…

1 – Renew Your Commitment – How committed are you to your local church?  Let’s DOUBLE DOWN on our commitments!  We have the privilege of being the ones in this season who are preparing the church for the NEXT season.  Going forward, I am looking for those who will stand with me to be rigorously committed to our church family as vision owners.  Here is a short version of our vision ownership covenant:

  • Spread the Vision of the church – By being baptized and get sent
  • Share the Responsibility of the church – By immersing yourself in small group community
  • Serve the Ministry of the church – By using your gifts and be a regular part of a ministry team
  • Support the Future of the church – By giving regularly to the mission of the church

2 – Get Baptized – We have celebrated 250+ #BIGWINS through baptism!  Some of you have never taken this step to be baptized.  You have personally committed to Jesus but you have never publicly proclaimed and encouraged those around you with your story.  Our next baptism is Saturday February 25th at 6 PM in Robbinsville.  email doug@217church.com to sign up.  #BIGWINS

3 – Join A Small Group –  Hundreds of people have grown strong through our small groups! #BIGWINS  happen every week as people come together to pray, encourage, study the word, and serve.  I have been personally impacted as over 50 people from small groups came to my home two years ago and did 20+ different projects to prepare my home to welcome in our 3 adopted children from Uganda!    We are seeing dynamic ministry and people in our community are being helped with so many basic needs.  Our small groups are the simple building block of our church that bring people in, build people up, and send people out.  email matt@217church.com to connect with a group.

4 – Use Your Gifts and Abilities – We have had over 18,000 Serving moments during Sunday worship services alone in the past seven years!  Since the beginning of 217church we have averaged over 40 people serving a week!  Are you one? That’s a lot of #BIGWINS!  Every week people serve as greeters, ushers, parkers, camera operators, media support team, audio visual support team, worship team, and dynamic 217kids leaders.  This is just on Sundays alone!  Your church, schools, youth ministry and neighborhoods are waiting for you to create some #BIGWINS and serve!

5 – Make A Sacrificial Gift – In the past seven years we have had $4.7 Million in #BIGWINS given towards the vision!  We have used those resources to build a strong church that is rebuilding lives, and now we have just put a down payment on a 10 acre piece of land to build a permanent facility.  I believe the best is yet to come and we have around $500,000 to go in order to pay off this land.  Over the next two years we anticipate completing the site plan and beginning the building process. You can make a secure sacrificial gift online here.

6 – Pray and Be Prayed For – All of the above is made possible through prayer.  Answered prayers have accounted for all of the #BIGWINS for our church!  Some of you have deep prayer needs.  before we started 217church, we prayed long and hard for the foundation to be strong through prayer.  I want to encourage you to make your requests known to the church family and allow others to come around and pray for you.  No matter what the need; physical, financial, relational, or emotional, God is in the business of answering our prayers and drawing us together through it.

7 – Let’s Come Together and Worship –  Sunday is going to represent another #BIGWIN for our church.  We would love for you to experience our historic 7 years celebration!  We will sign the land contract, here from some special guests and cast vision for our future #DOUBLEBLESSING!

I would love to hear of your stories of #BIGWINS through 217church below!  Or respond on Facebook Here

Can’t wait!

Josh

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

Overcoming Uncertainty This Christmas

What an incredible year we have had together as the 217church family!  We baptized 20 people, made an offer on a piece of land, and completed our 7th year of ministry as 217church!  One thing is for sure, God is faithful.  But in the midst of what God is calling us to do, there will be uncertainty.  Here is a special Christmas message about overcoming uncertainty as we enter into a new year together.

(Please note: If you are viewing video on a Mobile Device you must scroll to bottom and enable “DESKTOP MODE”)

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20

Christmas Eve Service 4 PM at Sharon School in Robbinsville, NJ

Reminder: NO SERVICES CHRISTMAS DAY

Merry Christmas!

Josh

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Thanksgiving – Your Father is Filthy Rich

10 Things that Accelerate Vision:  Principle #5 – Acceptance

Many of you know last Friday was a landmark day for our family.  We finalized the adoption of our three new sons, Eddy, Godfrey, and William.  I wish you could have been in the courtroom as the judge made the final ruling that the Conn family was officially EIGHT!  Eight New Jersey Conn’s!  This experience has profoundly changed my heart.  Each one of my children holds a place of love in my heart and these three new children are no different.  The longer I live, the more I understand the power of love and acceptance.  We are God’s children and we are to love as He first has loved us.

Principle #5 – Acceptance exemplifies love which communicates the Gospel louder than anything.

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“He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will… In him we have obtained an inheritance”   Ephesians 1:5,11

So here we are at another Thanksgiving season.  This simple verse above has so much to say about the human condition and the need for us to know we are acceptable to God and therefore are to accept others.  Acceptance is at the core of human decency.  Every day we have the opportunity to communicate love in its simplest form through kindness, giving, sharing and perhaps most difficult sometimes, forgiveness, even when someone doesn’t deserve it.  Because Jesus accepts us, we get an inheritance.  I have a VERY RICH FATHER and so do you.

Your Inheritance From Your Filthy Rich Father…

#1  You Were Planned – “He predestined us…”  You are not an accident, period.  Everything else is a lie.  No matter who has rejected you, humiliated, or demeaned you, your life was planned.  This inherently means you have value.  No matter if your biological family provides for you and loves you, You have been accepted by Jesus.  The whole idea of being predestined blows my mind.  It simply means Jesus knew us and knows us. #acceptance

#2 You Are Protected and Provided for – “…for adoption to himself…”  You are a part of the family of God.  Now, for many of us the idea of family is painful, but the way Jesus does family is breathtaking.  He protects us as our Father.  At the adoption hearing, the judge proclaimed that my new children had “rights to my inheritance.” Beautiful!  This means as a child of God, you have an inheritance. Here is what you need to remember:  An inheritance is a gift of grace not earned.  Your inheritance includes eternal life starting NOW.  The inheritance includes the privilege to be the church now and then walk in heaven in your new spiritual body. #acceptance

#3 You Have Power – “…as sons through Jesus Christ…”  It is through Jesus and his resurrection power that your eternal life has been sealed.  The strength that dwells within you is of monumental significance.  Because of Jesus in us, we have the power of spoken word, authority over demonic forces, love that is greater, and the power in us to live in a way that is other worldly.  At Thanksgiving, we even see the image of God revealing himself through people who were created in His image who haven’t acknowledged it yet.  Show His power through #acceptance this Thanksgiving.

#4 You Have Purpose – “…according to the purpose of his will.”  Once you start living for the will of God, everything changes.  It transforms how you treat your spouse, how you talk to your kids, how you treat those you work with, even how you choose to spend your money and how much you give away.  Open hands are to define our revelation of God to the world through #acceptance.  Many times we search for a BIG PURPOSE.  However, you will only find the BIG PURPOSE if you start with the small things. Your purpose is to show love and forgiveness in the small things.  And here is the hard part…It starts with those who live under your roof and also share your last name.  Forgive, accept and thrive with your family this Thanksgiving.

Thank you so much for the countless people who have prayed and journeyed with us during this season.  

May you sense the love of God and extend acceptance to people this day.

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Join us at 217church for our SERIES #Unstoppable – This Sunday at 10:30am is a special Thanksgiving service.

November 27 – Unstoppable Miracles – Romans 4:17-25, Matthew 6:9-12

For more on our NEW SEASON and Why we moved out of the Theater Click HERE 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

5 Marks of an Incredible Team

We HAVE HUGE NEWS at 217church today. It just so happens today is the Day many as well have been waiting for – the kickoff of the NFL Sunday season.  The preparation, the anticipation and the signal of a NEW SEASON.  I can guarantee you one thing, the overarching quality that makes for an incredible team that will be in the next Superbowl is…CHEMISTRY.  The qualities listed below create attractive, effusive chemistry.  Incredible teams don’t have perfect people but everyone understands their role and what the goal is…WIN.  This is Exhilarating!

It’s not personal ego or accomplishment that matters, but in the end it’s what is on the SCOREBOARD. 

WilsonJersey  

In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”  Nehemiah 4:20

Teams rally together and in the case of a church, if God is for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Our scoreboard is lives rebuilt, small groups living sent on mission, and disciples made.  All of these things happen through teams.  From the beginning, everything we have done has been around the idea of teams.  It exciting to be a part of an INCREDIBLE team.  

5 Marks Of An Incredible Team…

#1 Unselfishness –  When one person gets all the credit, the team is dysfunctional.  Unselfishness seeks to advance others for the betterment of the team and the advancement of the cause.  When one person makes decisions based on what is best for them rather than the team, it all falls apart.  Unselfish people are constantly early for the meeting.

QUESTION:  Do you look out more for yourself or others?

#2 Reliability   Not just when things are good but even more so when things aren’t looking good.  If you disappear when things get rough, your hurting the team.  It’s easy to be a part of a team when things are great, but your true commitment is tested when you don’t see a solution. Reliable people are present through ALL circumstances and they KEEP their word.

QUESTION:  Do you support or subvert the vision when things get tough?

#3 Clarity – The greatest teams I have been about are clear and concise about what the common goal is.  This happens when people understand how what they do fits with the overarching vision.  Where there is clarity there has already been great conviction.  WE MUST do this, WE WILL do this, NO MATTER WHAT, THIS IS HAPPENING!  The vision is razor sharp, easy for people to see and experience.

QUESTION:  Is your team clear about what your team is about?

#4 Urgency –  Look, there is limited time to complete the vision.  Working diligently to accomplish something that has a noble purpose should not be intentionally delayed.  For our church, the urgency is critical.  If we don’t work quickly, people go hungry, kids don’t find Jesus, parents lose direction, people lose hope, the enemy temporarily wins.  Now is the time!

QUESTION:  Are you complacent or compelled when it comes to your team’s vision?

#5 Honor – This may be the most important of all the qualities.  When honor is present there is a deep respect of the people you are working with and for.  People matter to God and their gifts are to be encouraged.  No gossiping, no side conversations, not a critical spirit.  But encouragement, direct communication and love for one another.

QUESTION:  Are you a complainer or a champion of unity?

Wear your favorite team jersey this Sunday and get ready to be a part of an incredible TEAM!  Go 217church!  What else would you add to this list?  Can’t wait to share the HUGE NEWS with you!

Josh

Our Next Series study of the Book of Romans Starts September 18

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September 18 – Unstoppable Gospel

September 25 – Unstoppable Grace

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Courage For a New Season

Next Tuesday I am sending my six children BACK TO SCHOOL!  Mostly there is excitement for my kids, but I’m sure underneath the surface it isn’t all anticipation and joy.  Do you remember the first day of school?  So much anticipation every year with new friends, new teachers, and many times a new school.  Inevitably something creeps into our mind though…FEAR.   What will happen?  Fear makes cowards of us all and makes us want to give up, sometimes even before we start.  That’s right, the most debilitating four letter word known to man is FEAR.  It will destroy you.  But what does it take to have courage in this new season of your life?

“Courage isn’t having all the answers, but believing God has them.”

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Growing up this verse above was on my wall.  I would read it every day.  Eventually it stuck in my brain and somewhere along the way it made its way into my heart.  What am I trying to say?  DON’T GIVE UP!

What It Takes To Have Courage 

#1 No Turning Back –  “Let go of your past and embrace today.

Life will NEVER be the same.  There I said it.  This may be hard news, but fear of stepping forward many times has to do with the debilitating effects of past experiences.  This pain can cripple us, but we must use our pain as a powerful motivator of what is to come.  The Israelites knew pain.  A whole generation died, the people were in slavery.  You can’t go back, things will NEVER be the same, and you have to let go.  The past will either paralyze you, Preoccupy you, or prostrate you before God.

#2 No Limits –  “Vision makes some people nervous, but it inspires others.”

There really are no limits to what God can do.  This doesn’t mean God WILL do it, it means he CAN do it.  This is the dilemma of the Christian life.  Our frustration comes when we disagree with God on what HE DOES.  However, our belief and prayers have to be that God has our best interest in mind, and His limits and possibility are unrestrained.

#3 No Doubt – “Courage doesn’t mean careless, it means careful dependence.”

Doubting God is like arguing the sunrise.  Will it happen? Inevitably, but is it hard to wait and it seems like the night is dragging on forever.  One thing you can be sure of though, God’s timing is NOT our timing.  The more we listen to God the more we understand His timing and the less we tend to doubt.  The younger we are, the harder this is because we simply don’t have the experiences built up helping us understand the faithfulness of God.  Dependence on Him is His aim. Believe.

#4 No Excuses – “Life is short, just take the step.”

I have met so many people who have so many excuses of why they aren’t doing what they feel God is calling them to.  Here is a question to end all questions:  Did you do the LAST thing you felt God told you to do?  I’m not talking about the warm fuzzies.  I am talking about the absolute clarity you had to take a step, confirmed by wise counsel, but you JUST – COULDN’T – TAKE – THE – STEP.  Today is the day, now is the time, MAKE IT HAPPEN

 

Josh

September 11th is VISION SUNDAY at 217church – We have HUGE NEWS for you about the future of the church!

Our Next Series study of the Book of Romans Starts September 18

Unstoppable Banner

September 18 – Unstoppable Gospel

September 25 – Unstoppable Grace

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Should I Do It? I’m Just Not Sure

What do I do?  What decision do I make?  Life is full of questions and one thing is for sure, this will not change anytime soon.  But sometimes we have a gut feeling something is right or wrong.  When presented with the option to come to Jersey and leave a ministry we loved, when presented with the option to plant a church, when presented with the option to adopt three children from Uganda, we had to make BIG decisions, and we couldn’t just trust our gut.  These decisions were full of faith, uncertainty and a lot of trust.  BUT how do we know whether or not we are called to do something? or rather, IT?

The distance between our current reality and our calling is RISK.


question mark

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

So back to the question; Should you do IT?  Are you called to IT?  Is it a deep conviction?  Here are some things to do when you are unsure if IT is for YOU.  And a little hint, you probably won’t be 100% sure, that is ok.  God likes us to step out in faith!  You CAN’T please him if you don’t.  (Hebrews 11:6)

You Might Be Called to ‘IT’ If…  

#1 You can’t stop thinking about it – Ever had a moment where you KNOW you heard from God and then time went by and you just COULDN’T get that thought out of your head?  Yep – that is sometimes how it works.  You didn’t think it, God put it there. If you can’t let go, you MIGHT need to do it.  Here is a hint:  If there is a scripture that lines up with it, BINGO!  Even more confirmation. 

#2 It will cost you everything – If you are going to do something that is a GOD sized idea, it won’t be cheap and easy.  If it is, it probably ISN’T from God.  God calls us to a faith based relationship with him, not just a facts based relationship.

#3 You use every possible excuse not to do it – Reasoning yourself out of following God is a recipe for deep pain.  Remember Jonah?  He didn’t want to go to Nineveh, so he ran as far as he could.  Not good.  Trust me, the vision God has shared with you will find you out.  It will be a sobering revelation about your level of trust in God.

#4 You are one of the few who can actually do it – Why do you think you have that skill, speak that language, possess that gift or have the resources and finances to pull it off?  Some things just make sense and you need to stop running.  God has positioned you for it, equipped you in it and empowered you already.  Go do it!

#5 You are terrible at what you do now – Ever seen someone who is ATROCIOUSLY misaligned with their organization or personal skills?  What a waste.  We all have, and I’m guessing you’ve been there.  If you don’t fit, move on. God has something better for you.  Relax and trust because that is why he gave you this vision and called you in the first place.  He KNOWS!

#6 You notice the people around you suffering because of your lack of willingness – If we don’t follow God’s plan we can hold our family, our co-workers, our church, and those around us back.  When you are the ‘bottleneck’ and the stumbling block to people around you, maybe God is calling you on.  It’s ok!  Change is part of life and it doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable, it means God has a better spot for you!

It is time!  Go and do IT!

Josh

Join us for our New series beginning June 26 – Overboard – Things we say to God

     jonah-concept

June 26 – I Don’t Want to            July 3 – Help Me!

     July 10 – I Don’t Agree God         July 17 – I Won’t Approve God

217church meets at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater  11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School every Sunday morning.  If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Josh is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Photo Credit – Here’s who to thank

Achieving Clear Vision

Not too long ago I had an eye exam and the goal was clear:  Walk out with contacts that allow me to see with 20/20 vision.  If I walked out of the office and didn’t feel I had achieved that or gotten close, I would have been unsatisfied.  An eye exam is essentially trial and error where they systematically eliminate the options that don’t allow you to see clearly.  It usually takes a while, then all of the sudden, out of the blue the doctor presents you with an option that is crystal clear.  Mission accomplished!

Clarity in vision creates consistency in daily living.

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org This photo required alot of editing in PS. I like the color and the gausian blur on this one.

“Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.”  Habakkuk 2:2

The journey forward in Central Jersey for 217church is becoming clearer and clearer every day.  We know there are some specific things ahead for us and God is painting a picture of the future. I am getting really pumped because I believe God is about to reveal something HUGE to us.  But how do we get more clarity?  The enemy wants to confuse us, but here are a few tools we can use to get clear.

3 Ways To Achieve Clarity in Vision…  

#1 Intentional Prayer – Here has been my intentional prayer over these past months:  “Lord do something BIG on our behalf.” Have you ever set out on a path with a vision and THEN asked God to bless it?  That is the WRONG way to do it!  Failure to get the message from God first means there will be constant division in your life.  You will be fighting with God in conflict.  Learning to align yourself with God in prayer is a life long discipline.  No matter what you are facing, IF you will pray intentionally for clarity, God will speak.  There is nothing wrong with telling God what you want, just make sure you stop long enough to listen for his guiding directional changes.

  • 217church Action Step:  Corporate Weekly Prayer Times – Every Sunday at 9:20am in Hamilton and 10:00 am in Robbinsville we have a prayer time all are invited to.  These are powerful times of seeking God and healing.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  

#2 Increasing Faith – Life is about incremental growth.  Some seasons feel extremely intense and other seem a bit more laid back.  One thing is for sure though, the more your faith increases the clearer the vision gets.  Many times we don’t achieve what God wants for us because we choose fear or facts instead of faith.  Fear and facts can sometimes FOOL you into thinking you are making the conscientious decision when in reality you are just making the most comfortable one.  God will increase our faith, all we have to do is ask.  I’m ready!  You ready?

  • 217church Action Step:  Meaningful Sacrifice – It’s time to believe God for a permanent home for 217church!  That means we are going to GIVE BIG!  Yes that means a piece of property and building for 217church!   Just this week we looked at a piece of property. Do You Believe it can Happen?  I do!  (more on this at the Sunday Services, don’t miss it!)  You can already Give here towards the building fund

Luke 17:5 “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

#3 Impacting Action – Make it happen!  We are in the business of rebuilding lives one person at a time.  You have to be willing to take STEP 1!  No procrastination is allowed because today is a day of action!  The distance between your intentions and your implementation is your integrity.  Even if you aren’t crystal clear, do SOMETHING!  For our church we know this means living out our value of authentic relationships.  When you feel like you are fuzzy in the vision, take a step forward in what you know to be true.  Here is a truth:  You are a part of the Family of God.  You belong in deep, transformational relationship with other Christ followers.

  • 217church Action Step:  Join A Transformational Small Group – I can almost guarantee if you are willing to get in a small group, the vision for your life will become clearer.  You need meaningful relationships and Godly counsel in order to push forward.

James 2:14  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?.”

This vision is getting clearer, are you ready to seize it?  Let’s Go!

Josh

 

Our Vision:  Make 10,000 disciples, 1,000 small groups, 100 churches, 10 years, 1 life at a time

Our Mission:  A restored family sent on mission to make disciples

 

217church meets at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater  11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School every Sunday morning.  If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Josh is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

photo credit here